Smokers in the LGBT community are being encouraged to take the leap and stub out the habit for good on No Smoking Day.

Smoking rates are often higher in LGBT communities. For example, 36 per cent of gay men in the UK smoke, much higher than the national average of 21 per cent. Research also shows gay men start smoking earlier and smoke for longer than smokers in the general population.

But this week they’re being encouraged to buck this trend, by becoming one of the 750,000 people who attempt to quit on No Smoking Day – Wednesday 14 March.

Vishnee Sauntoo, a smoking cessation adviser who now works on the No Smoking Day campaign, said: “Make No Smoking Day the day you say goodbye to an expensive habit that can ruin your health and your looks, and say hello to a brighter, healthier smokefree future.

“We are urging all smokers in the LGBT community to try and ditch their cigarettes for good by taking part in the biggest single quit day in the UK.”

Barrie Dwyer, Project Manager at Health Equality Rights Association (HERO), said: “Sadly, smoking is much more common amongst the LGBT community than the general population in the UK. Not only does smoking put your health at risk, but it can damage your wallet too. A couple who quit smoking with our HERO stop smoking programme were able to take themselves to Dubai with the money they would have spent on cigarettes!”

“Around 85% of the participants on our stop smoking courses have quit smoking by the end of the seven week programme, which shows the beneficial effect of the support of others. No Smoking Day is another example of how the support of others and the solidarity of quitting together can help you through your quit attempt.”

Approximately 10 million UK adults smoke but about two thirds say they want to give up. Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your own health as well as those you love and live with. Quitting also makes you look better by improving your skin and teeth and it helps your finances too with smokers saving on average more than £2,300 a year if they quit.

Each year, the No Smoking Day campaign is responsible for helping hundreds of thousands of smokers across the UK attempt to quit, and for inspiring another two million to seek out information to help them quit in future.

Smokers who want to quit can visit www.taketheleap.co.uk or call 0800 434 6677 to find information on stop smoking services and top tips for quitting.

To book a place on a HERO Stop Smoking course visit www.gmfa.org.uk/stopsmoking

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